NEW DELHI: Modern society's most disruptive force - social media has transformed how we go about our everyday lives.
An online presence is considered imperative to growth and more and more businesses are taking up the challenge to expand their outreach. And the business of politics is not too far behind, as has been clearly seen in the electoral battle for Karnataka.
In the last one month or so, both the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have made extensive and sometimes indecorous use of various social media platforms, primarily Twitter, to portray the other as inept, unprincipled, and corrupt.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, BJP President Amit Shah, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa, Congress' social media spokesperson Divya Spandana/Ramya, among others have been at loggerheads on Twitter, aiming to destabilise each other through a variety of strategic approaches.
The Twitter handles of the Karnataka Congress and BJP Karnataka have also followed suite to their leaders.
"In Karnataka, when it comes to corruption, it's a "No Contest" as this graphic shows. The BJP wins hands down!," said a recent tweet from Rahul Gandhi.
Amit Shah was quick and to the point in his response to Gandhi.
"Congress has read the writing on the wall. They know their reign of corruption and oppression is ending in Karnataka. That is why they are turning to unethical and anti-democratic ways to succeed. However, their attempts will be thwarted and the power of the people will win," he wrote.
The two parties have been taking political potshots at each other ever since they launched their manifestos and announced their list of candidates.
When Rahul Gandhi reviewed the BJP's Karnataka manifesto, he described it as a 'poorly crafted fantasy', the BJP responded by congratulating him on reading his first book. They even went as far as calling him a 'Zero'.
"New Book Review! The BJP Karnataka Manifesto, inspired by Narendra Modi, is a poorly crafted fantasy built around a weak plot, that has nothing unique to offer voters. If you've read the Congress Manifesto, don't waste your time on this one.
Recommendation: Avoid," Gandhi had written."
Congratulations on reading your first book! Did you read that we have pledged to establish Applied Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in Kengeri? Your 'artificial' intelligence will help us to implement it when we form govt! A ZERO giving 1 rating is anyway laughable!," BJP Karnataka wrote in response.
When the Congress announced its first list of candidates for 218 constituencies on April 15, here is how the BJP reacted.
"We are confused about this list of candidates released by Congress. If you read some of the names from the list, it looks more like a list of to be convicted criminals. Such mind-blowing credentials.Take a look: 1/n," they wrote.
The Congress, in reply, called the BJP 'scamsters' and 'rapists'. Old politics is, however, thriving with ease in this world of new media.
"PM: What is the way to Karnataka Assembly?
Chanakya: Go straight on BSY Road. Drop BSY at Varuna. Turn Right at Deve Gowda circle. Then make a U Turn & drop Deve Gowda. Rest at Cariappa circle. No it Is Thimmaiah circle. Then make another U Turn ..
PM: Karnatak is very confusing!," Siddaramaiah wrote on May 5.
BJP Karnataka replied by saying that the Chief Minister has 'lost his mind'.
"This is what just 3 says of Modi's carpet bombing rallies does. Opponents start losing their mind and turn asinine. Guys, over the next few days, this man may tweet even more crazier things. Enjoy the fun while it lasts," a tweet read.
Approximately five crore voters will be exercising their franchise on May 12 in what is a high stakes election; a sort of preamble to the 2019 general elections. Counting takes place on May 15. An interesting contest is on! .